“Examine me, O LORD, and prove me; try my reins and my heart.” (Psalm 26:2).
Honesty is crucial if our inventory is to serve any real purpose. For if we lie to ourselves at this point, then we have failed before we take even the first step. And to insure honesty, we really need someone else to assist us in our self-evaluation; someone who loves us, and will be objective in speaking truthfully to the vital issues in our lives.
Any story sounds true until someone sets the record straight. Solomon understood this long ago, and wrote, “He that is first in his own cause seems just; but his neighbor comes and searches him out” (Proverbs 18:17). And again, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes: but the LORD ponders the hearts” (Proverbs 21:2). Indeed, who better to examine us than the Lord? “Examine me, O LORD,” whispered David, “and prove me; try my reins and my heart” (Psalm 26:2).
Here is an expanded paraphrase of this prayer: "Examine me, O Lord, from head to foot; order your battery of tests. Make sure I'm fit inside and out. Test my thoughts and find out what I am like. Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me. Test my motives and affections. Look closely into my heart and mind, and judge my desires and thoughts. Go for it, Jesus; and don’t stop until You are done!"
Is this something you are ready to pray? Are you prepared for the Lord to answer such a prayer? He is more than ready to respond. What is it that holds you back? Is it fear of being found out? Is it guilt over something you have done? Is it shame over something that was done to you? Is it pride? Or, is it unbelief?
None of these things are worthy of your life, and you should not allow any of them to limit you from being who God created you to be, and fully experiencing all that the Lord has purposed for you. The truth is, He already knows what’s in your heart – and, He loves you anyway. The exam is for your benefit; not His.
There was a man who shrugged off his need for such examination. He was a rich man, who lived for only one purpose – to build bigger estates and expand his assets so as to secure for himself a life above and beyond the need for anything, or anyone. He enjoyed great success and fared sumptuously throughout his days upon this earth. Yet, in the end he had nothing. "Fool," was the final word facing him as he stepped from Time into Eternity. For on the night his soul was required of him, nothing of what he had laid up was of any use in the presence of Almighty God. (see Luke 12:16-21).
Jesus taught that Life does not consist of the things a man possesses. So, when it comes to taking inventory – we must look past our bank accounts, our educational degrees, our celebrated accomplishments, cherished awards, and other personal achievements. We must look instead to the inner chambers of our souls. What do you have in there that will carry on beyond the grave?
That, in the final analysis, is what matters most of all.